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foreign policy

Bill Barr Gets Caught With His D*ck In Rudy's Cookie Jar ... Again.

Weird how these guys wind up in the same room all the time!

But enough about Ukraine, let's talk about Venezuela. Particularly about Rudy Giuliani and Bill Barr and whatever hinky shit the two of them were cooking up when Rudy went down to the Justice Department last September to ask the DOJ to prettyplease not indict his Venezuelan client Alejandro Betancourt López as part of a massive money laundering case in Florida.

Betancourt had generously hosted Giuliani and his henchman Lev Parnas at his estate in Madrid where they traveled to meet with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's aide Andrey Yermak last August during their peregrinations across Europe in search of dirt on Joe Biden. The next month, Giuliani returned the favor by using his contacts at the Justice Department to score a face-to-face with Brian Benczkowski, head of the criminal division, to plead Betancourt's case. Which is a nice perk you get when you hire the president's personal lawyer and subsidize his backchannel ratfucking for the president!

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Impeachment

Latest Parnas Doc Dump Wants To Know: How You Livin' Devin Nunes?

And a whole lot more from your favorite chucklefuck!

Time for the latest dispatches from chucklefuck Lev Parnas's phone on the Trumpland conspiracy to frame Joe Biden. The newest doc dump from the House Intel and Judiciary Committees contains three different PDFs, plus a voicemail. The first comprises messages between Parnas and Devin Nunes's aide Derek Harvey, the second pertains to surveillance of our ambassador in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and the third is just photos of Lev Parnas, who takes more selfies than Kim Kardashian, documenting his position at the center of Trumpworld. Let's get at it.

Devin Nunes, Moo Got Some Splainin' to Do!

Friday night we got a peek at Lev's messages with Derek Harvey, Devin Nunes's top Intel staffer, and -- SURPRISE -- they back up Parnas's allegation that the congressman was up to his udders in the Biden smear. Parnas served as a conduit between Nunes and corrupt Ukrainian prosecutors willing to say more or less anything for a price, including Viktor Shokin and Yuriy Lutsenko.

As Parnas told Rachel Maddow last week, "Derek Harvey had several interviews, Skype interviews I set up, with different prosecutors like [Nazar] Kholodnytsky, which is the anti-corruption prosecutor of Ukraine, Konstantyn Kulyk, one of the major guys that's had this whole Biden stuff."

At the same time, Harvey was pumping Parnas for dirt on the Clinton Foundation. Because it will always and forever be 2016.

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Impeachment

Who's In The *Third* Lev Parnas Text Dump? Your Mom? Your Mom Should Stop That!

And so should everyone else in the world!

More Lev Parnas docs! Are you trying to kill us, Adam Schiff? You dropped another 500 pages of Lev's constant WhatsApp messaging last night? REALLY?

Well, the good/bad news is that 40 percent of the new texts are in Ukranian, so we'll have to wait for a translation. And another 40 percent is just these morons sending Hannity clips and Dan Bongino tweets back and forth to each other, punctuated by "Wow!" and "lol." But there's still a lot here, and probably more coming tonight. So, let's do it rundown-style by recipient and maybe we'll finish before the next batch drops.

And incidentally, after we downloaded these documents, some of them appear to have moved, and now we're getting a 404 message. We'll put the link back if it ever reappears.

First up ... who else, right?

Rudy Giuliani

Here's Parnas, apparently in a May 18 group chat with Rudy and two of his phones, being instructed to tell Ukrainian President-Elect Volodymyr Zelenskyy to "stop acting like a boy and become a man and take control" by arresting Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky.

Surely this has nothing to do with Kolmoisky blowing off advances from Giuliani's chucklefuck henchmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman and giving an interview that month to Pravda which the Washington Post translated thusly:

They wanted to have a meeting with Zelensky and show Giuliani that they had organized everything. [...] A big scandal may break out, and not only in Ukraine, but in the United States. That is, it may turn out to be a clear conspiracy against Biden.

You ain't kidding, Ihor!

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Impeachment

WTF Do The Parnas Texts Show, And Can We Splain Them You? YES!

No, not the ones where they stalked the American ambassador. We did those last night.

This Trump Ukraine stuff is batshit crazy. Even if you spend all day staring at it -- and we do! -- it's easy to lose the plot. The best way to keep all these characters straight is to sort them by their goals. Ask yourself, "What does this particular cartoon villain want, and how the hell did the president of the goddamn US of A get involved with him?" So, with that in mind, let's read the second tranche of Parnas texts released yesterday by the House Intelligence Committee. Because this right here from Ukrainian prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko looks suspicious AF:

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Impeachment

Rudy, You Cannot Lie When Lev Parnas Has Receipts!

Also, um, is this Lev and some weird-ass talking about having Marie Yovanovitch offed? We are just asking!

We knew that little chucklefucker was warming up to sing, but we didn't expect him to bust out into The Ring Cycle tonight!

HO. LEE. SHIT. The House Intelligence Committee just dropped a whole load of Lev Parnas's receipts and they are craaaaaaaaaazy.

Does this read like these guys are putting a hit out on former ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, or what?

That sweetheart in blue is Robert Hyde, current congressional candidate in Connecticut's 5th congressional district. He was recently disowned by the Republican party for tweeting something so crude about Kamala Harris that none of the articles about him will even allude to it obliquely. And if you guessed he's a guy with a string of bad debts who's behind on his child support payments, you'd be right!

So naturally he and Donald Trump are good pals.

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Iran

Cut The Crap Already, We Killed Soleimani Because They Told Trump Brown People Were Laughing At Him

We all know it.

Shoulda known it would all come back to John Bolton! After a weekend where Donald Trump dispatched defense secretary Mark Esper to twist in the wind on national television trying to justify the attack on Qassim Soleimani as arising from some "imminent" threat, NBC reports that we actually planned the hit on the Iranian general a full seven months ago when John Bolton was still the national security advisor.

After Iran shot down a U.S. drone in June, John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser at the time, urged Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials said. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also wanted Trump to authorize the assassination, officials said.

But Trump rejected the idea, saying he'd take that step only if Iran crossed his red line: killing an American. The president's message was "that's only on the table if they hit Americans," according to a person briefed on the discussion.

So that would be a targeted killing in response to retrospective Iranian action, not an action to prevent a prospective plot to kill Americans. And perhaps it was the right choice. But who can form a rational opinion when everything that comes out of the administration is a distortion to conform to the president's most recent lie?

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WARBLOGGING

Uh Oh, Matt Gaetz In Big Trouble With Daddy!

No, not his real daddy, his work daddy Donald Trump.

No, silly, we are not saying Matt Gaetz is in trouble with the rich daddy he apparently has in Florida who may or may not have had a hand in keeping many of young Matthew's youthful extracurricular activities off his permanent record! We have no reason to believe Gaetz is in trouble with that daddy. We are talking about Donald Trump. You know, his work daddy.

Last week, when Congress invoked the War Powers act to limit Trump's freedom to attack Iran all willy-nilly without congressional authorization, it was a slightly bipartisan vote, and one reason for that was because Gaetz -- Trump-licker extraordinaire if there ever was one -- decided to vote with the Democrats. He said he was doing it because "principle" or something, and because he represents more troops than anybody else in Congress. We know enough about Matt Gaetz to never give him credit for being a stopped clock that's still somehow only right once a day, but it was a rare show of brain activity from a guy from whom we aren't accustomed to seeing that.

Wonkette mentioned this briefly this weekend, but this report from the Washington Post really has some funny lines about how upset Daddy is with Gaetz, who really has gone and wrapped his relationship with Daddy around a tree on this one, HAHA, MATT GAETZ DUI JOKE, nobody's ever said one of those before!

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Iran

Trump Gets Religion! (It Is Evidence-Free Belief In 'Imminent Attacks')

Defense Sec Mark Esper, welcome to the Sunday Show rundown!

A lot has happened since last week! After the assassination targeted killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the Trump administration has been working real hard to justify having done so without consulting Congress. So much so we've had to recap it every few days to ensure everyone keeps up with the new lies.

Last week it was Secretary of State and least popular Pompeo, Mike, lying his ass off on the Sunday shows. This week it's Defense Secretary Mark Esper's turn. Esper began by trying to push the talking points at the top of his dual appearances on CNN's "State Of The Union" and CBS's "Face The Nation." It did not go well!

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Trump

President Corleone Rebrands US Military 'Mercenaries-R-Us'

Trump will sell Saudi Arabia some spare soldiers if the price is right.

Donald Trump set a virgin bonfire in the White House Friday and Laura Ingraham emerged from the flames to interview him. She opened with a softball question about how much of a pants-soiling threat Iran Gen. Qasem Soleimani was before Trump single-handedly erased him from existence with the Infinity Gauntlet.

INGRAHAM: [Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's] concern is that people aren't understanding the imminent nature of the threat of Soleimani, and he was pressed on that today. He said there were large-scale attacks planned on U.S. facilities, but he didn't go more specific. Don't the American people have the right to know what specifically was targeted without revealing methods and sources?

This is the president's response in its original banana pants.

TRUMP: Well, I don't think but we will tell you that probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad. You saw that happening. You saw with all of the men, very few women, circling it and circling it very strongly and very viciously, knocking out windows and trying to get and they were close to getting in, and I called out the military. They said we'll have it there tomorrow. I said, nope, you'll have it there today. We're not going to have another Benghazi on our hands. And we did a really amazing job. I get no credit for it, but we never get credit for anything, and that's OK. In the meantime, we have the greatest economy we've ever had, a lot of other things.

But I think you would have had another Benghazi had we not acted quickly. That could have been stopped, and this was stopped. And we had our Apaches going there, the great helicopters, and they were dropping flares all over the place, and a lot of things were happening. They had acted real fast and everybody disappeared.
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Iran

Everything That Happened Since Yesterday In Our Iran Iraq Clusterfuq ... Wait, BREAKING!

Stop the news, I want to get off!

Good God, y'all! We have been promoted from Mommyblogger to Warblogger, so buckle up for a roundup of all the military funtimes stories breaking today. We are locked, and also, too, perhaps loaded?

Matt Gaetz ... right about a thing????

Yesterday the House voted on Rep. Elissa Slotkin's non-binding war powers resolution that would revoke the president's power "to engage in hostilities in or against Iran" without specific congressional authorization, unless it becomes "necessary and appropriate to defend against an imminent armed attack upon the United States." Eight Democrats voted "no," and three Republicans -- Gaetz, Thomas Massie (KY) and Francis Rooney (FL) -- voted "yes." Plus independent Justin Amash (Biceps), who can sit with us now, we guess.

This caused great Sturm and Drang in Wingnuttistan, with Lou Dobbs growing so distracted that he left his Just For Men on for an extra hour, to disastrous effect.

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WARBLOGGING

GOP Senators Actually Pissed At Trump Over Iran Briefing, Will Go Back To Being Cowards Tomorrow

Oh NOW Republicans are mad?

Utah GOP Senator Mike Lee is mad. He described Wednesday's briefing on the Qasem Soleimani killing as "probably the worst briefing I've seen at least on a military issue in the nine years I've served in the United States Senate." Enraged at getting the brush off from defense officials, Lee says that he and Rand Paul will now support Democrat Tim Kaine's Resolution to stop President Trump unilaterally bumbling us into a war with Iran.

Just lookit him come out of the SCIF all pissed off and sweaty after Mike Pompeo and Mark Esper tried to run the rope-a-dope on him!

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polls

One Out Of Four Americans Agree: 'I Can Find Iran On Maps!'

And other fun with Trump Iran war polls!

In the time between Donald Trump dumbassedly ordering the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani and this morning, when he folded like a common folder (WHICH IS GOOD), a meme proliferated on Facebook, something along the lines of "I will listen to your thoughts on why we should war at Iran just as soon as you identify Iran on this map." It was a good meme! It didn't include any Russian disinformation, the map didn't have any fake hurricane dicks on it, it didn't ask for the name of your first grade teacher or your mother's maiden name, and it made its point succinctly. Most Americans had never heard of Soleimani before last week -- which is actually fine, most Americans have better things to do and aren't Iran experts -- but after the strike, all these MAGA dipshits started acting like he was their age-long sworn arch-nemesis, whose crimes only their orange God could avenge.

Well, some polling has finally come out on the Soleimani strike, and on warring Iran in general, and it's a good thing Trump caved like a common caver (WHICH IS GOOD) because if he thought a war was going to be good for pulling his approval ratings out of the shitter and making a majority of Americans not despise him, hahahahahahahahahahahahaha fuck off. (More on that in a second!)

The survey, from Politico/Morning Consult, also says how many Americans know where Iran is, on maps. It is 28 percent, or a little over one out of four. Or should we say, it's 28 percent when you show a regional map. When you show a map of the whole entire world, it's only 23 percent. (Hint: Iran is the great big one sandwiched between the other two countries we've been warring since 9/11, pop quiz NAME THOSE COUNTRIES!)

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Media/Entertainment

Elizabeth Warren Goes On 'The View' To Ignore Meghan McCain To Her Face

Oh, THAT'S how you deal with Megs McCabe!

Meghan McCain was two clouds above nine on "The View" Monday because Trump had just killed Iranian General Qasem Soleimani for reasons he's still workshopping. These are her childlike words on the impeachment-distracting strike that might lead us to war.

MCCAIN: For me, when a big, bad terrorist gets blown up, I'm happy about it.

Megs smash! Flag-draped violence is good, no matter the suspicious motivations or potential quagmire-shaped ramifications. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren joined the "hot topics" table yesterday, and McCain called out the senator for raining on her military parade. First, though, she tried to butter her up with empty flattery.

MCCAIN: I believe you respect the American military and respect our troops. You have traveled overseas many times. I just want to say that first and foremost.

These are three sentences that met randomly and are embarrassed by how little they have in common. Warren doesn't need McCain to tell her she respects the military. She's not the one pardoning war criminals against their recommendations or pissing on the memories of dead war heroes. Warren responded to this with a curt "sure," which was awesome. She could tell a "but" was coming because she was talking to an asshole.

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iraq

Defense Department Announces NO PLAN For Iraq. It Can't Fail!

What the hell was that?

To call what happened yesterday at the Defense Department a dumpster fire would be a massive understatement. Truly it was such an epic clusterfuck that, in any normal administration, half the leadership would have hired lawyers already amid bipartisan congressional demands for an independent investigation. But with Commander Crazypants going apeshit in the Oval, it'll probably wind up being just a one-day story.

As best we can work out, around noon in DC an Iraqi media outlet run by the pro-Iranian militia group Asaib Ahl al-Haq, which has fought Americans in Iraq and Syria for more than a decade, published a letter from United States Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William H. Seely III, commander of America's Iraq Task Force, to his counterpart in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. In an apparent reference to Sunday's parliamentary vote to ask America to withdraw its military, it read, "Sir, in due deference to the sovereignty of the Republic of Iraq, and as requested by the Iraqi Parliament and the Prime Minister, CJTF-OIR will be repositioning forces over the course of the coming days and weeks to prepare for onward movement."

By 2:40, Agence France Presse reported that the US was pulling out of Iraq, and by 3 p.m., every major news outlet in the world had the story.

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WARBLOGGING

Iraq Votes To Send USA Home Until It Can Play Well With Others

Donald Trump reacts with very presidential tantrum.

Iraq's Parliament voted yesterday to expel US troops from the country following last week's assassination of Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a drone strike near the Baghdad airport. The vote is nonbinding unless the Iraqi government takes further action, but that could happen, too. Donald Trump threatened Iraq with sanctions if it tells the US to GTFO, because he is a big angry toddler with a lot of executive power.

The New York Times reports,

The troops will be limited to "training and advising" Iraqi forces, but will not be allowed to move off their bases or to fly in Iraqi airspace while plans are being made for their departure, said Brig. Gen. Abdul Karim Khalaf, the military spokesman for Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

Purely by coincidence, the US military in Iraq also announced it's suspending its operations in Iraq to focus on the troops' own security, which means it won't be fighting ISIS or training the Iraqi military for the time being, which are kind of the only official reasons US forces are still in Iraq anyway (Also OIL). Since Iraq is the base of operations for US attacks on ISIS inside Syria, that makes two countries where The Troops won't be fighting ISIS.

Oh, yeah, and Iran said it was entirely scrapping the 2015 international nuclear deal that Trump walked out on last year, so there's that, too. In other words, just another day that ends in heavy drinking.

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